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Department of Pharmacology

Taylor, C, Shen, Y, Thillaiappan, NB

Increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration regulate diverse cellular activities and are usually evoked by opening of Ca2+ channels in intracellular Ca2+ stores and the plasma membrane (PM). For the many signals that evoke formation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3), IP3 receptors coordinate the contributions of these two Ca2+ sources by mediating Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Loss of Ca2+ from the ER then activates store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) by causing dimers of STIM1 to cluster and unfurl cytosolic domains that interact with the PM Ca2+ channel, Orai1, causing its pore to open. The relative concentrations of STIM1 and Orai1 are important, but most analyses of their interactions use over-expressed proteins that perturb the stoichiometry. We tagged endogenous STIM1 with EGFP using CRISPR/Cas9. SOCE evoked by loss of ER Ca2+ was unaffected by the tag. Step-photobleaching analysis of cells with empty Ca2+ stores revealed an average of 14.5 STIM1 molecules within each sub-PM punctum. The fluorescence intensity distributions of immunostained Orai1 puncta were minimally affected by store depletion, and similar for Orai1 colocalized with STIM1 puncta or remote from them. We conclude that each native SOCE complex is likely to include only a few STIM1 dimers associated with a single Orai1 channel. Our results, demonstrating that STIM1 does not assemble clusters of interacting Orai channels, suggest mechanisms for digital regulation of SOCE by local depletion of the ER.

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Published date: 
30 January 2021 (Accepted for publication)
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Publication type: 
Journal articles
Journal name: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA
Publication volume: 
National Academy of Sciences
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